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Vodafone 'may be set to sell US mobile stake to Verizon for $115 billion'


By Noel Young, Correspondent

March 6, 2013 | 3 min read

Verizon , the giant US phone company, may be set to take over the share of America's biggest U.S. wireless partnership, currently owned by British-based Vodafone ,

Vodafone: 'Merger idea failed'

The deal - potentially ending their joint venture called Verizon Wireless - would give Verizon full ownership of the most profitable and fastest-growing big wireless carrier in the U.S,. Bloomberg reports today.

Vodafone’s 45 percent stake could fetch $115 billion, said Bloomberg quoting analysts.

It would be the biggest deal since Time Warner's 2001 combination with AOL, which was valued at $124 billion.

Vodafone shares went up 7.6 percent , adding more than $9 billion in market value.

Verizon wants to take over the unit this year, giving the New York-based company greater control over its most profitable division, said people in the know, according to Bloomberg.

Verizon Wireless added a record 2.1 million subscribers last quarter.

“Verizon wants to control what is genuinely the best telecom asset on the planet,” was the view of Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research .

Vodafone and Verizon reportedly discussed a full merger as recently as December.

One merger idea had the new company based in the U.K., "which would be good for tax purposes," said Bloomberg. Verizon would have held 55 percent to 60 percent of the merged company.

That camme to nothing because of Verizon’s resistance to moving to Europe and Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao's reluctance to step aside, said Bloomberg.

Colao has been keen to sell stakes in operators that the company, based in Newbury, England, doesn’t fully control. It sold its holdings in SFR, the second-biggest French mobile-phone operator, in 2011.

If the deal goes ahead Vodafone, could use the proceeds to make its own acquisitions in Europe, one possibility being Germany’s Kabel Deutschland Holding AG (KD8)


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